Helping your child’s development
In the early years of life, more than half of the total energy from ingested nutrients in your young child’s diet will go into supporting his physical and mental development and function. As your child grows and develops, his nutritional needs will change. It is important to choose the appropriate nutrition options to help support these changing requirements as your child’s delicate tummy develops.
Helping His Mental Development
85% of brain growth is achieved by the third year of a child’s life. That’s why children learn so much and are constantly striving to do so many new things. Supporting this growth are the key nutrients like DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), ARA (arachidonic acid), choline and many other nutrients. DHA is one of the important omega-3 fatty acids and one of the key building blocks of the human brain. DHA helps your child reach the key stages in his cognitive development, and supports the eyes and nervous system.
Helping His Ingestion
In his early years, proteins in a child’s diet are crucial in tissue building and maintenance. Given their critical roles, some proteins are made to become easy-to-digest and easy-to-absorb, such as partially hydrolyzed protein (PHP), so that the delicate tummy of your child will not have to work so hard to break down and subsequently absorb them.
Some children’s tummies may have difficulty digesting lactose and may have digestive problems, such as flatulence or gassiness. Gas is produced when excess or undigested lactose is fermented by microbes in the digestive system. Nonetheless, lactose is an important nutrient because it supports an important aspect of your child’s development. How is that so? Lactose is broken down into glucose and galactose to be utilized by the body. Glucose acts as the principal metabolic fuel and provides sustained energy for overall growth and development. Foods like yogurt and lower lactose milk may be given to children who have difficulty digesting lactose. The bacteria in yogurt can help in lactose digestion.
Helping Your Child’s Nutrition Needs
It may take time for your child’s digestive system to develop naturally and to outgrow his digestive discomfort. Meanwhile, an appropriate diet can help manage some of the digestive discomfort your child may experience.
1. Kuzawa, C. W., Chugani, H. T., Grossman, L. I., Lipovich, L., Muzik, O., Hof, P. R., ... & Lange, N.. Metabolic costs and evolutionary implications of human brain development. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 2014;111(36): 13010-13015.
2. Knickmeyer, Rebecca C., et al. "A structural MRI study of human brain development from birth to 2 years." The Journal of Neuroscience 2008; 28(47): 12176-12182.
3. Buss C, Entringer S, et al. The Role of Stress in Brain Development: The Gestational Environment’s Long-Term Effects on the Brain. Cerebrum. 2012 Mar-Apr; 4.
4. Innis SM. Dietary (n-3) fatty acids and brain development. J Nutr 2007;137:855-859.
5. Uauy, Ricardo, and Alan D. Dangour. Nutrition in brain development and aging: role of essential fatty acids. Nutrition reviews 2006; 64 (suppl 2): S24-S33.
6. Zeisel SH. Nutritional importance of choline for brain development. J Am Coll Nutr. 2004 Dec;23(6 Suppl):621S-626S.
7. Thienprasert A1, Samuhaseneetoo S, Popplestone K, West AL, Miles EA, Calder PC. Fish oil n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids selectively affect plasma cytokines and decrease illness in Thai schoolchildren: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled intervention trial. J Pediatr. 2009 Mar;154(3):391-5
8. Neu J. Overview of Digestion and Absorption. Gastroenterology and Nutrition. London: Elsevier Health Sciences. 2012:3-11.